Doha’s Ambassadors and their Cars (The German Ambassador)

German Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Former Angelika Storz-Chakarji

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Please tell us more information about yourself and how many years you have been working for The German Embassy in Qatar, What was your previous job in your country?

Answer. I arrived in Qatar almost three years ago – not from far away as I had been Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman before having been assigned to Doha . Thus, I have spent a substantial part of my career in the Gulf region. Before that I worked in various fields: in the European Department of the Federal Foreign Office, in political affairs as well as legal and personnel matters, and as a young diplomat I was posted to our missions in Tokyo, New York and Paris.

Which car brands do you prefer to drive the most? What makes it different than other brands?

Answer. I like cars as a means of transportation – therefore for my personal use it does not have to be the fanciest model. I appreciate high tech features especially with regard to safety standards , and of course I always admire the beauty of design – all of which you find in German cars. I have to admit that the elaborate safety technologies of a certain German car brand once saved my life. Apart from that, if I had a choice, I would always love to have a vintage car.

Tell us about the car industry in your home country?

Answer. Germany is considered to be the birthplace of the automobile since Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto independently developed four-stroke internal combustion engines in the late 1870s, with Benz fitting his design to a coach in 1887, which led to the modern day motor car. By 1901, Germany was producing about 900 cars a year

Nowadays, Germany is recognized worldwide for its outstanding automotive industry and excellence in engineering. From Asia to the Americas, German cars embody highly cherished values of innovation, reliability, safety, and design. Germany is by some distance Europe’s leading production and sales market. The country’s world-class R&D infrastructure, complete industry value chain integration, and highly qualified workforce create an internationally peerless automotive environment. It enables companies to develop cutting- edge technologies.

Take a look at these impressive numbers which show why, more than 125 years after inventing the automobile, Germany remains the world’s automotive innovation hub:

The automotive industry is the largest industry sector in Germany. In 2014, the auto sector listed a turnover of EUR 384 billion, around 20 percent of total German industry revenue.

The automotive industry in Germany is one of the largest employers in the country. Around 775,000 are employed in the industry as a whole.

Germany is Europe’s number one automotive market; accounting for over 30 percent of all passenger cars manufactured (5.6 million) and almost 20 percent of all new car registrations (3.04 million). The German automobile industry is regarded as the most competitive and innovative in the world, and has the third highest automobile production in the world.

Germany is home to 43 automobile assembly and engine production plants with a capacity of over one third of total automobile production in Europe.

German automobile manufacturers produced almost 15 million vehicles in 2014 – equivalent to more than 18 percent of total global production.

One in every five cars worldwide carries a German brand.

21 of the world’s top 100 automotive suppliers are German companies.

Around 77 percent of cars produced in Germany in 2014 were ultimately destined for international markets – a new record.

Currently, five German brands dominate the automotive industry in the country: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen.

Answer. Driving in Qatar is a challenge – like in most other countries of the region. Given the mix of drivers from so many different backgrounds things still go amazingly smoothly – also thanks to enforcement of traffic rules. However, I personally feel intimidated by speeding, overtaking and tailgating. This is the reason why I do not drive here though I enjoy driving and drove myself in capitals like New York, Paris and even Tokyo with lefthand driving, and of course in Berlin. Germans love their highways and they drive fast. However they stick to the rules. Tailgating is extremely dangerous and in Germany it is an absolute no go (though of course such drivers exist) – and therefore severely punished.

Have you ever changed a car tyre before? Any interesting experiences or stories to tell?

Answer. Yes I did, as a young student in Italy. The task was easy at the time because I had a small French car which was easy to handle. Nowadays I might have a problem even to find the right tools (sometimes hidden in the strangest places) and handle the much more elaborate cars and tyres. But technologies have advanced, I believe. Changing a tire is no longer necessary with some cars – they even make it to the next garage with a flat tyre.

What is the best car racing sport and why?

Answer. I have to admit that for me, international sports car racing is unbelievably confusing, with a half dozen classes that to me all look the same and have nearly the same names. Of course famous names such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel ring a bell and I am aware of what is going on in Formula 1 and I am very proud that Germany has such great performers in motor sports.

What is the brand of your Embassy car and does it have any special interiors that you’ve commissioned?

Answer. My Embassy car is a BMW with no special features. As Germany is a car producer German embassies abroad follow a rotating system and do not favor one special brand. My previous official car for example was a Mercedes.

Do you have your own private car for transportation?

Answer. I have a private car in Doha, however I do not use it as I do not drive here.

What do you think about electric cars? Do you think there is a market for them in Qatar?

Answer. The GCC region loves powerful, gasoline-driven cars, thanks to the low, subsidized petrol prices. You rarely see eco-friendly cars on the roads of Doha, but I hope that awareness of importance of “green living” is rising and Qatar transitions to a more environmentally friendly society. Hopefully, the numbers of electric vehicles will rise among public transport companies and taxies. Especially the transport concept for the FIFA World Cup 2022 should consider the use of electric cars. Offering electric shuttle buses from metro stations to the event locations and hotels would be a great idea and would showcase Qatar´s ambitions to host an environmentally friendly world cup.

In my opinion one of the main problems for drivers of green cars is the current lack of infrastructure such as battery recharge stations to support electric vehicles. That is one of the reasons why car companies are not offering a wider range of green cars in the region yet.

Have you ever been dune bashing in Qatar? What’s the best place in Qatar?

Answer. I was dune bashing with some visitors next to the inland sea – but I am far from being a specialist!

Can you give the Cars in Doha followers a few tips about driving in Qatar?

Answer. As I said before: don’t speed, don’t tailgate, don’t overtake from right and left..And be polite and considerate. And for those drivers with children: please use baby and children’s seats at all times.

Can you describe Cars in Doha the website in a few words?

Answer. www.carsindoha.com offers real helpful information, especially for the large number of expats in Qatar. As there is a constant coming and going in Qatar it is crucial to have easy access to information regarding your everyday needs. After finding a place to stay, the next step would usually be to find a car. I am sure the users will appreciate the offer of “Cars in Doha”. The layout of the page is clearly arranged and information is easily accessible.

From Left side, Cars In Doha Director “Mohamad Wehbi” & “H.H Angelika Storz-Chakarji”  EX German Ambassador to Qatar

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